Monday, June 21, 2021

Interaction- Samir Surlaker, Founder & Dir, Asses Build Chem



We believe in the mantra of “Get Waterproofing Right the First Time”



Assess Build Chem Private Limited provides Modern construction chemical solutions such as Admixtures, Concreting Aids, Waterproofing, Repairs, Protection, Flooring and Specialty Materials for application in  Building Construction, Infrastructure (roads, airports, ports, railways), Water and Wastewater Treatment, Energy Sector and Power Plants, Industrial Structures and Heritage Structures. The company recently tied up with TPH Bausysteme GmbH which was founded in 1965 and is an established producer of specialty chemicals for civil construction and tunnelling. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, SAMIR SURLAKER, FOUNDER & DIRECTOR, ASSESS BUILD CHEM PRIVATE LIMITED speaks about the latest trends in the waterproofing industry, his company’s product offerings, demand drivers and a lot more.





Give an overview of the CC market in India in terms of cost/quality equations, sector challenges, and growth prospects.


The CC Industry in India in its organized form has been around for slightly more than 4 decades. As such it is a mature industry but has not seen the rapid industrialized growth of many of the other segments relating to construction. The main challenges in the industry has been its diversified fragmentation, large number of material solutions offered and lack of awareness on correct usage of many of the materials.


The construction industry began adopting Construction Chemicals as standard practice and the industry started gaining traction in the last Two Decades. As construction grew and became more organized, the CC industry too grew at roughly 15% to 18% percent over the last many years.


The growing interest in the industry and the relatively low cost of entry, prompts many entrepreneurs to enter the CC industry, leading to a widely fragmented market. India being a cost sensitive market, prompts many users to ignore quality of materials for price. Many times, the expectations from CC materials are unrealistic and they are deemed to “fail”, further denting widespread adoption.


Lack of use of CC would eventually impact the durability of structures. This mindset often ignores life cycle cost of the product and looks merely at the initial costing, posing a key challenge for the industry. Some other key challenges in the industry include Standardization of Products and Systems and the Lack of Performance Specifications for use of CC Systems


The industry is poised to grow, since it is directly proportional to growth of the construction Industry.  If we can raise awareness levels, the industry would grow faster and more sustainably.




What has been the impact of Covid-19 on your business, your expectations from the govt and what are your strategies to overcome these sluggish market conditions and expand market share.


The slowdown from March to May – June 2020, definitely mirrored on to the business as construction sites were non-functional, plus the applicators did not have adequate labour force to apply materials. That being said, the demand for materials since that time has been steadily growing.


The market is still seeing slowdown in terms of payments and financing / cash flow has been bothersome. The government needs to intervene with regulations controlling credits and payments as for smaller industries, payments and cash flows become paramount. The regulation can be as simple as ensuring payments at agreed credit terms or within 30-45 days, to ensure the payment chain flourishes. This will help business pick-up pace much faster.



Detail us on the range of construction chemicals offered by your company and their applications.


Assess Build Chem Private Limited provides construction chemical solutions for application in the field of Building Construction, Infrastructure (roads, airports, ports, railways), Water and Wastewater Treatment, Energy Sector and Power Plants, Industrial Structures and Heritage Structures. We manufacture:


  • Concrete and Mortar Additives
  • Concreting and Finishing Aids
  • Waterproofing Systems
  • Tile and Stone Fixing Solutions
  • Sealers and Cleaners
  • Industrial Products like Grouts
  • Floor Hardeners and Polishing Aids
  • Repair of Concrete & Heritage Structures
  • Anti-Carbonation Coatings


We are also Exclusive Partners of TPH Bausysteme, GmbH, Hamburg, Germany, who are leading manufacturers of Injection Systems for Waterproofing, Sealing, Ground Consolidation and Soil Stabilisation. These products are used in Tunnelling, Metro, Building & Industrial Projects worldwide to solve very challenging problems in water ingress or soil stabilization. Solutions in India Include:


  • Polyurethane Foams 1 and 2 Component
  • Flexible, Structural and Special Polyurethanes for slab Lifting
  • Methacrylate Gels and Polymer Reinforced Gels for Curtain Grouting / Expansion Joints
  • Silicate Resins for Cavity Filling, Slab Lifting and Anchor Fixing



Our strength lies in offering solutions for constructional and waterproofing problems, by working with you and recommending and contributing experience with correct technical use of material systems.


Our solutions include systems for Seismic Retrofitting / up gradation of Masonry and Concrete Bridges. We also focus on specialties such as Injection Systems and Bridge Deck Waterproofing Systems. We provide systems for water, wastewater and Sewage Treatment Structures such as high-performance coating systems to withstand low pH and Biogenic corrosion occurring in Manholes and Concrete or Masonry pipelines. These coatings are highly resistant to abrasion and are suitable for Dams, spillways and running water structures.


We focus on sustainable construction and design green concrete with high performance Admixtures. We promote Concrete Protection Systems (Anti-Carbonation and others) for enhancing the life expectancy of structures. We also offer special systems for cleaning, protection and restoration of Heritage Structures.



What are the USP’s of your products/solutions Vis-à-vis competition Advantages of using your CC in terms of savings on construction cost, time, and labour. 


Technical solutions apart, tremendous consistency in manufacturing, quick turn-around times for dispatch and high degree of quality control have been a hallmark of our fast-increasing repute in the market. In addition, Assess Build Chem focuses extensively on training. Basic videos to explain concepts to training on-site and internationally for our application partners, we believe in discussing the correct solutions with our clients and application partners and this makes us unique in our approach to solving constructional problems.



Which sectors are major demand drivers for CC in India?


The major segments in the industry is still admixtures, followed by tiling, dry-mix products, waterproofing, flooring and repairs. With increasing investment in construction that India is seeing, the opportunities for the construction chemicals (CC) industry to grow is tremendous. As always, the major demand driver for our product systems is new construction in buildings, followed by Infrastructure. New Metros, Road, Rail, Airports and Water Supply and Treatment projects will drive the major demand for waterproofing, especially waterproofing additives and injection systems. Programs such as the PM Awas Yojana (PMAY) will boost demand in the building construction industry as well. The industrial sector has been on an even keel the last few years, but greater international investment in India may change this help drive up the demand for waterproofing in this segment too.



What is your outlook on the opportunities from renovation and repair of old existing structures for the construction chemical and waterproofing business? Can this area be considered as a new growth driver to strengthen business volumes for players like you?


Of course. Repair and Remedial waterproofing are big but unorganized market sectors in India. The sector is primarily serviced by small to medium firms that deal with materials from the retail market, but do not necessarily have the expertise to design or apply waterproofing systems. The problem is a vicious cycle, in which projects start off with improper waterproofing (on cost considerations), the structure leaks and then the remediation starts (again on cost considerations) and the cycle continues. Our solutions of providing high tech injection systems, coupled with joint and crack treatment systems, high quality repair mortars and coating systems can cater to the rehabilitation of any structure. A combination of these solutions can be applied to a variety of elements such as basements, slabs, roofs as well as other infrastructure areas such as dams, water supply and STP tanks, transportation and any other concrete construction.


Our products are designed to be easy to apply and be simple and effective. Focusing on these types of solutions keeping in mind quality and detailing, will help us grow in the waterproofing segment.



Have you launched any new products or launching new products in the near future?


We have recently tied up with TPH Bausysteme GmbH. The company was founded in 1965 and is an established producer of specialty chemicals for civil construction and tunnelling, offering a wide product portfolio within the following main categories of application.



Joint Sealing Systems:

  • Swelling Profiles, for working joints between concrete pours
  • Injection Hoses, for placement in the concrete joints
  • Sealants and adhesives, applicable also in moist or under water conditions



Injection Resins:

  • Acrylic Gels, waterproofing and consolidation in fine cracks, porous concrete and fine soils
  • Polyurethanes, water stopping in foundations and concrete structures
  • Silicates, void filling, strong anchoring and consolidation
  • Epoxies, structural consolidation in concrete



Tunnelling Systems: Specially designed combinations to support tunnel excavation with consolidation and waterproofing for TBM, Drill and Blast and NATM methods as well as a full range of solutions for the refurbishment of existing underground facilities.



These solutions help us tackle almost any structure for waterproofing and soil stabilization and offer solutions for difficult structures such as Dams, Basements, Podiums, Bridges and for stabilizing structures under the most difficult conditions.


We are also in position to offer special solutions for heritage structures.


That apart, we are working on class leading performance upgrades for our existing materials and shall showcase them soon. Watch this space for more information.



What is the company’s approach towards innovation, environment and sustainability?


Our company is a believer and our promoters are some of the first people in the industry to focus on sustainability, environment and innovation. Most of our product systems are so developed, so as to minimize the use of high VOC ingredients in our formulations. Most of our bulk raw materials are sourced within a certain radius to minimize the impact of transportation on its carbon footprint. Our materials are designed to have a long performance life and help the structure be maintained with lowest resource requirements, making the structure as a whole sustainable. The products being environmentally friendly have the same impact as concrete, even when the structure is demolished, leading the structure to remain green through its service life.


In addition, our innovations such as green concrete technology [concrete with low cement contents and ingredients from local sources], temperature reducing coatings, mineral systems to resist acid attacks, curing compounds that save water and other similar systems do make an impact on structures to render them green, sustainable and durable.  



Provide us details on your manufacturing facilities.


Our products are manufactured in well-equipped Plant in Goa under strict quality control using State-of-Art Technology and Quality Assurance Systems. We are also an accredited ISO 9001:2015 Company, which helps us maintain quality across the products and services.


We are comfortable in terms of capacity to meet the demand for materials in the coming years. We are expanding our Goa plant to a big and modern facility, which would be supported by a state-of-the-art-training centre and laboratory for better interaction with our customers.


Once demands pick up, we can leverage the capacity of our additional plant at Gujarat. With the two facilities in Goa and the one in Gujarat, we are confident of providing our customers with their needs in terms of both quality and quantity as they have come to expect from us.


As far as the product lines go, we are continuously improving our product lines to meet the stringent market demands. We believe further capacity expansion in terms of R&D projects and improving market reach are needed. These steps will help us move forward positively. 




As a manufacturer tell us about the critical challenges faced while introducing high end products in India? To what extent does cost influence a customer’s purchasing decision?


The Indian waterproofing market is at the moment, at a turning point in terms of understanding the waterproofing segment, price and quality. This is a time when the market is flooded with cheap imports and me-too products, with lesser focus on material properties, testing, certification and application techniques.


This makes it a challenge to introduce high technology products in the market. The high-tech products make application easier and last much longer but may be pricier. The low-price products available make similar claims but may not stand up to testing under rigorous international codes. The cost factor tends to equalize the products, without considering the life cycle cost of using a much better product. So, to introduce high end products is challenging, but will gain traction as life-cycle costs, ease of application and durability become the key parameters driving purchase decisions.



The Indian waterproofing segment can be divided into:


  1. a price market where any product or low-quality application goes as long as it costs less,
  2. a quality market, where product performance according to global standards is paramount



We cater to the more demanding quality market as we believe in the mantra of “Get Waterproofing Right the First Time”. In such a market although price does influence the customer’s purchasing decision, the focus is more on correct high-quality materials and impeccable application.



Future outlook on the industry and from a company perspective.


The Indian Waterproofing and CC industry is progressing well. The top material solution providers and application machinery suppliers are introducing the latest technologies worldwide to India and are customizing them for use in local conditions. Standards for use (IS Codes) are rapidly evolving and we often practically use international codes to bridge gaps for our construction.


We are now doing much more local research as opposed to the last decade to improve product quality, robustness and ease of application. From a company perspective, this is a positive trend as we are in the very high-technology segment of waterproofing systems. The acceptability of new technology will drive forward our growth in the waterproofing segment of the CC industry. 


The focus on sustainability and durability is also increasing and customers are becoming aware of the latest materials and application technology. Standardization, evolution of codes of practice, focus on sustainability and increasing awareness along with cutting edge technology will be keywords in the development of the waterproofing industry and will drive growth tremendously in the years to come.


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